TAJIKISTAN: Five months on and still living in tents





TOJIKSOY, 7 October 2009 (IRIN) - Aziza Alinazarova, aged 13, walks past her old school every day on her three-hour round trip to a new school in Pyanj District, southern Tajikistan. Badly damaged by floods and mudflows, Aziza’s old school in the village of Tojiksoy, lies abandoned.

Local residents say 100-150 children have had to walk 4-5 km to get to the nearest school since the floods of April-May 2009, which destroyed or badly damaged at least 32 houses in Tojiksoy, displacing more than 180 people, who are still living in tents, according to community leader Toshmuhammad Mavlonov.

The floods and mudflows, which struck 40 districts, left 26 people dead, displaced well over 3,000, and affected thousands more. Over 2,000 houses, hospitals, schools and other buildings were severely damaged and abandoned, according to the Early Recovery Appeal - Tajikistan Floods and Mudflows by the Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (a local team comprised of government bodies, UN agencies and NGOs) launched on 12 August.

Some five months after the disaster, affected communities are still struggling to rebuild their homes, livelihoods and infrastructure.


“Our biggest problem is getting a roof over our heads. Many of us managed to lay down a foundation and erect mud walls, but we don’t have any money to complete the construction as we lost everything when the disaster came. We need help with roofs - timber beams and ‘shifer’ [asbestos-cement sheets],” Mavlonov said.


Displaced Halbi Danivarova in her fifties told IRIN she and her family are living in a tent as the 3,000 somoni [US$680] loan and some cement they received from the government were enough only to build a barn. “My husband and I are pensioners and cannot work to rebuild the house. My son is in the army and I have only one daughter staying with me. We don’t have the money and need help to rebuild our house,” she said.

Abdusalom Boboyorov of the international NGO ACTED office based in Pyanj District told IRIN Tojiksoy - part of Namona local council with about 20,000 inhabitants - was the area worst affected by the floods.

“There is no water, no electricity, no proper clinic, no school; they were all destroyed or badly damaged by the mudflows. This area is remote and the affected people didn’t get the assistance required,” he said.

Mirzodavlat Saburov, head of the district administration, said the local authorities had managed to rebuild only four houses with their own funds. “Tojiksoy is our first and foremost problem. We provided them with plots, some construction materials and the only missing thing is roofs. We are racing against time to try and get people housed before the rain starts in November,” he said.

“Since the floods… we have had around nine delegations of donors, but nothing to show for it. We don’t have enough resources and need assistance,” Saburov added.


Lack of water

Lack of access to safe drinking water and water for agricultural purposes was “acute”, said Saburov.

Flood survivor Danivarova said they had no option but to buy trucked-in water: “We pay 60 somoni [US$14] for 2,000-3,000 litres. It lasts about a month and we use it for all our needs. We don’t have a container for that amount and sometimes we store it in a nearby dry irrigation trench. It is not safe, but what can we do?... I spend my monthly pension just on water and my husband’s 70 somoni pension [about $16 per month] is not enough for us to survive.”

District head Saburov said they needed a couple of good water pumps and a reliable source of power.